Ravana is the personification of evil as the demon king of Sri Lanka, also the leader of the raksasses, who is the antagonist of Rama in the Hindu epic Ramayana. He is described as having ten heads and twenty hands. Through severe ascetic practices in early life he obtained from Brahma exemption from death. His ensuing pride and arrogant behavior led to the incarnation of Vishnu as Rama to destroy him. A.G.H.


Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 802